A DUBLIN company may be forced to reinstate aspects of a famous Victorian harbour building which it demolished without planning permission.
The Carlisle Pier structure in Dun Laoghaire has been the backdrop to numerous historic events, including the exit of British soldiers and the departure point for Michael Collins' ill-fated treaty talks.
However, it was torn down in September 2009 by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) which had received legal advice that planning permission was not required.
After a public backlash against the move, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has now rejected an application for retention of the demolition works and the car park subsequently built on the site.
An earlier application seeking permission for a five-year temporary structure to include car parking, an open-sided pavilion, and the hosting of cultural and other events was previously refused.
A statement from the local authority said this was rejected for three principal reasons: the number of car parking spaces; its effect on the conservation area; and a failure to reuse "significant elements" of the old train shed.
The latest ruling, which was made on the same basis, leaves the once landmark site in a state of limbo.
It is understood the retention application was for a three-year temporary use while a master plan for the area was developed. While the council would not comment ahead of a potential appeal, it is possible the DLHC will be asked to reinstate part of the old train shed structure it tore down.
Sources have indicated the future fate of the pier now lies in the hands of the council and that any moves to have aspects of the famous structure reinstated "lies in their court".
An Taisce, a vocal critic of the demolition, will be pushing for a partial restoration of the property.
"To think that this historic pier should be turned into a car park is shocking," said chairwoman Gene Feighery.
"It is on par with the old Victorian bandstand and for people coming to Dun Laoghaire this would be a fantastic civic space. There is enough there, with some new construction, to make a combination of new and old to bring the history of the pier back into a modern space."
In a statement, the harbour company said it would now examine the ruling before making any decisions.
"The application for retention was for a temporary period of three years," it said. "The company is disappointed at the decision, as it had hoped to use the pier for recreation and leisure purposes over that period of time.
"The company has just commenced the development of a master plan to provide enhanced tourism and leisure facilities, and the Carlisle Pier will be a key element in this."
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